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Help Put Southern Philanthropy – and Your Foundation – On the Map


In 2016, SECF teamed up with Foundation Center to release the Southern Trends Report – a comprehensive look at giving in our region. This year, we’re working to update the Southern Trends Report with new data on giving by Southeastern foundations.

Like any report, it’s only as good as the data that goes into it – and that’s why we’re encouraging all SECF members to Get on the Map by joining the eReporting program with Foundation Center. Grants data that is submitted through eReporting is fed into the Foundation Maps platform, which is the driving force behind such interactive sites as YouthGiving.org, BMAfunders.org, and our very own Southern Trends Report. 

The more foundations we have participating in eReporting, the more reliable our sample becomes and the more confident we can be in drawing conclusions or predicting trends from the data.

The Get on the Map campaign is a collaboration between SECF, Foundation Center, and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers that encourages funders to share grants data using Foundation Center's eReporting standard. By committing to eReporting, you’ll join a growing group of more than 800 foundations across the country that are already sharing their data with Foundation Center. That includes more than 60 SECF member organizations, such as The Duke Endowment, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, and the Mary Black Foundation.

What are the benefits of eReporting? By putting your foundation “on the map,” you will:

  • Help inform SECF’s research and provide a more complete picture of how Southern grantmakers are transforming people and communities across the region.

  • Ensure your foundation’s giving is reflected in the Southern Trends Report, Foundation Maps, and other dynamic Foundation Center resources.

  • Support your fellow grantmakers by strengthening an essential resource for foundations to tap into as they look for gaps in funding, seek out potential partners and determine where and how to target their investments.

  • Receive a free interactive map of your foundation’s grants to display on your website, review internally, or otherwise use as you wish.

You’ll also have the opportunity to tell the story of your grantmaking on your own terms by shaping how your foundation’s grants data is tagged and described within Foundation Center resources. By participating in eReporting, you’ll be able to directly export such information by subject, population served, outcomes, or any other descriptive information that you may already collect within your grants management system and that you as the funder are best positioned to provide. Compare that with the traditional method of indexers manually entering recipient data from 990s and relying on their intuition to decipher the exact purpose of each grant. Beyond these benefits, eReporting also allows data to be made available faster and more efficiently.

The ability to obtain grants information directly from funders has worked hand in hand with enhanced data collection procedures to produce a more complete picture of philanthropy. One example is the inclusion of geographic area served as a search parameter in Foundation Maps. Not only can we tell where the recipient of a grant is located, but we can also see where the funding was ultimately directed – a longstanding concern for funders supporting national or statewide charities.

How does eReporting actually work? It’s as easy as 1-2-3:

1)     Export a complete list of your most recent grants in Excel. Most grants management software platforms offer a pre-formatted export function that pulls the necessary data into an Excel file automatically. If you don’t use one of the listed software systems, simply use the handy Excel template by downloading it here.

2)     Include the necessary fields. At a minimum, include the transaction ID, amount, currency, fiscal year end and recipient name and address. Learn more

3)     Email your report to egrants@foundationcenter.org.

We hope that you’ll join your peers in sharing data that can help us all learn more about the sector. Together, we’ll have a better picture of who’s funding what, where, and how through tools such as the Southern Trends Report. This knowledge will allow funders to be more strategic with their giving and help them identify the right partners with which to find collaborative solutions. Commit your foundation to better data and better outcomes by becoming an eReporter today.

For more details on how your organization can Get on the Map, visit this page, check out the FAQs, or contact me at stephen@secf.org.

Stephen Sherman is SECF’s research and data manager.

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